Will there be More Benefit than Harm in Legalizing Recreational Marijuana?
The Controlled Substances Act of 1970, the primary anti-drug law in the United States, rules out the possession and use of marijuana all across the nation despite its legal use for medicinal purposes in 20 states. Strict implementation of the Act, however, may very well be on the road to change – at least that is the message other states are getting after Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana for recreational use; a move that the Obama administration seems to tolerate.
Rather than blocking the two states’ move, the US Justice Department released to all federal prosecutors a four-page memorandum that outlines eight main concerns for marijuana enforcement, so that, unless a case would fall in any one of these eight areas, prosecutors should not waste any effort in prosecuting the case.
A number of these areas include trafficking across state lines, marijuana revenue going to other criminal enterprises, distribution to minors and growing of marijuana on public land. With these defined areas, a sort of a breathing space is given to users, growers and related businesses which, in the past, have feared prosecution. The Justice Department, however, expects Colorado and Washington to implement regulatory systems that will protect against any of the eight areas; otherwise, these states might as well give up the idea of the drug’s legalization for recreational use.